[FoRK] ET vs. God vs. The Great Simulator vs. MWI, fight!
jbone at place.org
Tue Jun 24 15:51:01 PDT 2008
Homework / food-for-thought for Dr. Ernie...
(1) Is the likelihood of the existence of extraterrestrial
intelligence a suitable topic for rational discussion? Why or why
not? What are the limits of certainty that can be obtained about this
(2) Is the likelihood that the universe is a simulation (cf. Bostrom)
a suitable topic for rational discussion? Why or why not? What are
the limits of certainty that can be obtained about this topic today?
(Extra credit: what's wrong with Bostrom's reasoning in that paper?
How, if at all, could these weaknesses be addressed, from any rigorous
(3) Is the correctness of the Multiple Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of
quantum mechanics a suitable topic for rational discussion? Why or
why not? What are the limits of the certainty that can be obtained
about this topic today? What experiments could be devised to yield
certainty or to deny it entirely? Are there any obvious constructive
proofs that modify our certainty?
(4) Is Chaitin's incompleteness rational? Constructive?
(5) What's the difference between each of the above and a discussion
of "God" with a man of faith?
That should keep the wheels spinning for a while... ;-) Fyi, I don't
have canned answers to these; they came up while I was pondering an
example (ETI in particular) where one can simultaneously hold a degree
of both belief and disbelief given what is presently (without
controversy) known and what can be synthesized from what is known.
They represent various things that I've given quite a bit of thought
to over the years, but which it is to varying degrees difficult to
reconcile with any conservative (in the sense of minimally-
presumptive, maximally-exclusive) epistemological framework one might
claim or wish to employ.
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